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I was diagnosed with stage III triple negative breast cancer in October 2014. Two years later to the day I started treatment for metastatic triple negative breast cancer – the cancer had spread to my sternum, liver, lymph nodes and lungs. The primary cancer was treated with ACT chemotherapy and a double mastectomy. All four oncologists I consulted with for my secondary cancer suggested that I look for a clinical trial this time around.

The clinical trial that’s keeping my stage 4 breast cancer at bay requires weekly chemotherapy. I threw several tantrums before signing consent – I didn’t want to lose my hair again, and I didn’t want to be strapped to an IV every week, nauseous. However, since there’s no cure for metastatic breast cancer, I’ll be on some form of treatment for the rest of my life – and I want to live – so here I am, facing the next steps…

Shedding my hair a second time, I knew what to expect physically, and this time, two years after my initial diagnosis, I am different emotionally. I told a friend that to avoid the trauma of watching my hair fall out from chemotherapy, I would get my head shaved; he suggested I donate my hair so that someone else could make a wig out of it. An appealing idea, I wondered if anyone had thought of creating wigs from one’s own hair – I wanted to wear a wig made out of MY OWN HAIR. During my two years as a cancer student, I hadn’t come across personalized wigs – just yet. Later that week, I serendipitously found myself at the Mo’Hair Foundation Fundraising Gala.

After the tumultuous journey of a life-changing experience – cancer, I am ready for the next positive adventure. I want to REALLY live…

What is the Mo’ Hair Foundation?

The Mo’ Hair Foundation inspires self esteem and promotes wellness. A nonprofit organization located in northern New Jersey, they offer men, women and children free surgical hair replacement due to cancer, alopecia, Lupus or trauma.

Monique Smith-Andrews is the founder of Monique’s Techniques, a full service salon and the Mohair Foundation. Monique created this organization as her mother battled cancer. It was difficult for Monique to see her mother struggle with the effects of hair loss with no viable options. So, she began researching alternatives to wigs and began her journey into the non-surgical hair replacement industry.

How Has the Mo’Hair Foundation Given Me Hope?

Chiara D'Agostino hair shave

The day before chemo. Photo Credit: Amy Lee Mayer

Beauty isn’t limited to outward appearance – to me, beauty is about feeling good. When I feel good about my self, it doesn’t matter what I’m wearing or if I put on my makeup – my comfort exudes from the inside out. I still have some stubble on my head and can feel confidant looking in the mirror and going out. Soon, even the mini-hairs will remain on my pillowcase and my head will shine. I wonder if I’ll mourn my dad again, he was bald when he died recently; we look alike, especially when I’m on chemo.

Chiara D'Agostino hair shave

Monique and Chiara. Photo Credit: Amy Lee Mayer

I find it comforting that my silver strands are not “lost” or “gone” but simultaneously going through their own renaissance. My new normal is always changing, but those grey locks and I have history – I earned those chemo curls! I look forward to reuniting with my hair, in the form of a personalized wig from the Mo’Hair Foundation. When I’ll want to accessories – to model, for fun, to avoid those cancer stares – one of my choices will be the easiest – with my own, beautiful, natural hair!

How Can The Mo’ Hair Foundation Help You?

Contact the Mo’Hair Foundation for more information on how they can help your self-image and improve your quality of life. Click here to send a message and read their testimonials.

Contact Me

Contact me at Chiara@beautythroughthebeast.com for more information and follow me on Beauty Through the Beast.

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